All That's Fit To Flame
Greetings from the say-it-isn't-so files, dear readers.
Come on. let's face it; we all want to create cool online campaigns that spread virally. We spend countless hours with our creative teams strategizing over copy, content, format, and vehicle. One of the most critical factors that we all know is not to fake it. Faking it isn't cool.
An ad that doesn't look like an ad is still an ad--online or offline. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a blog that's not really a blog is not a blog. Sound confusing? Well, it's not. Recently, Sony Electronics and its agency Zipatoni launched a blog for its video game system PSP--AllIWantForXmasisaPSP.com. Turns out it was fake.
In it, there was an author named Charlie who wrote with his cousin Pete. Both were not real. And guess what? Gamers got pi**ed off in a big way. Comments, questions, grave concerns and snide remarks spread like wildfire online.
Well, the agency wanted viral--and got it. But, you see, "viral" can be a double-edged sword. This faux blog yielded so many nasty responses and postings that it went dark last week. Gamers outed the agency name and address by looking into its online registration data.
Didn't see it? Well, search good ole YouTube and you'll find it. It's the one with contrived hip-hop singing by a grown man asking his parents for a PSP for Christmas. Also check out the comments on You Tube.
Or go to Digg and you'll see things like, "Sony's failed attempt at viral marketing." Or how about a posting from Judge373: "Wow, I didn't know Sony could hire such a craptastic marketing company. Check out the comments popping up on the site now... it's getting hilarious."
It seems some of the Zipatoni folks have been posting, too. For instance, Meanmog says: "I know a little bit about this situation--and Zip isn't a bad marketing company. From what I hear, Sony, the client, pushed for it to be what it is today."
You'll also see that gamers and faux-blog haters flamed the agency, Zipatoni. They sneered at the company's own copy on its Web site, "Active consumers. Activating Consumers." I try to stay away from slamming an agency, but wow. What were they thinking?
We all know gamers are some of the most tech-savvy hardcore online users. They are also big-time brand loyalists. Consider this--Sony Electronics is a cool brand. The PSP is a cool product. It's the busiest shopping time of the year. All are positive factors. How could something like this get f'ed up? How could Sony approve this?
Well, dear readers, all I want for Christmas is for brands to get real. Post to a real blog--ours--and let us know how you feel.